Becoming a Pokémon GO sponsored location helps veterinary clinic gain visibility and attract new patients
Niantic gave 1,000 nominated businesses complimentary promotion in Pokémon GO for one year. Now, we are sharing their stories. This week, we share how the Pokémon GO community steps in to show their support for a Denver-based veterinary clinic that is fighting to stay open during the pandemic.
Rising Sun Animal Care provides veterinary services to pets in the Lowry neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. Dr. Deanna Miller, owner and lead veterinarian, has made it her life’s work to help pets and the people who love them. Because of her dedication to keeping pets healthy and safe, Dr. Miller made strategic operational changes to ensure Rising Sun Animal Care remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Miller explains, “During the pandemic, pets have played a more significant role in people’s lives as companions — providing unconditional love and support for people who are spending more time at home.”
With more people working from home and the closure of several surrounding veterinary practices, Dr. Miller observed a surprise increase in scheduled appointments. So, she shifted the schedule to open earlier on weekday mornings, stay open later in the evenings, and close on Saturdays (except for emergencies). These operation hours worked best for her patients and their owners, while allowing Dr. Miller to accommodate the influx of appointments.
“As people interact with their pets more, they notice their ailments like a slight limp or an abnormal bump and want to have it checked out,” said Dr. Miller. “We’ve also seen an increase in the adoption of pets including lots of puppies and kittens. So, wellness visits are needed for vaccinations.”
To follow safety guidelines for COVID-19, new protocols were established including curbside appointments. While it's a safe practice, curbside appointments take twice as long to implement and require additional staffing. It's also an adjustment for pet owners because they are no longer permitted in the clinic. Staff members are needed to hold the pet in place of the pet owner for examinations.
“Everything is more intensive during the pandemic,” said Dr. Miller. “We are chronically short staffed and juggling a ton all of the time.”
Despite the challenges of running her veterinary practice during a pandemic, Dr. Miller is active in supporting the community. She donates her time to provide free medical care to animals in local shelters. She also provides donations to three schools in the neighborhood.
Becoming a Niantic Sponsored Location
There is a dedicated group of Pokémon GO and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite players in the Lowry neighborhood who enjoy walking with their furry friends while playing the games. Several players heard about the Niantic Local Business Recovery Initiative and nominated Rising Sun Animal Care who was selected to have a Pokémon GO Gym representing the veterinary practice in the game.
Dr. Miller considers herself to be a fanatic Pokémon GO player and is thrilled to have a Gym with her veterinary practice’s logo on it. She plays in the Gym frequently, spins the PokéStop daily, and gives away gifts from Rising Sun Animal Care.
Since becoming a Gym in Pokémon GO, Rising Sun Animal Care has received a boost in visibility. The vet clinic is off the beaten path of regular foot traffic so not many people drive by and see it. Dr. Miller and her staff have noticed people showing up to their location just to play at their Gym.
Dr. Miller explains, “In the game, you can see our logo from nine blocks away — that range of visibility attracts people who may not have known that we existed. That is really cool.”